Serra da Estrela Natural Park
Serra da Estrela Natural Park is an amazing destination not only for its beautiful landscape but also for its gastronomy, history and culture
With more than 100.000 ha, Serra da Estrela Natural Park is a natural paradise with a landscape dominated by granite and the remarkable glacier valleys of Zêzere, Loriga and Unhais da Serra.
Standing on the top of it, at Torre, Portugal’s highest peak, the surrounding view overwhelms us with its imposing grace and magnificence not only in winter when it is covered with snow but also throughout the rest of the year. In summer the appeal comes from the walks and the refreshing water streams on the way – let’s not forget that in Serra da Estrela are the sources of the rivers Mondego and Zêzere -, in spring is nature at its highest, with the unrivaled image of the blossoming fauna and flora and in autumn the incomparable brownish colours cover the landscape creating a living picture worthy of a master impressionist painter.
Shaped as a polygon, Serra da Estrela goes from Guarda, Celorico da Beira, Oliveira do Hospital and Covilhã and in its central massif, its heart, are Torre, the Cântaros, Penhas da Saúde and Penhas Douradas.
Nestled in its valleys or in the slopes, there are charming little villages, surrounded by a bucolic atmosphere that take us back in time, reminding us about old ways of living, when agriculture and pasture followed the traditional methods. Loriga, Alvoco da Serra or Linhares, with its medieval castle, are some of the most renowned examples. Of course, one must not forget Sabugueiro the highest inhabited Portuguese village.
However, Serra da Estrela is not just about natural beauty. Here is to be found the only Portuguese skiing and snowboarding station. The Bread Museum, the Toy Museum, both in Seia, or the Belmonte Jewish Museum some of the cultural options Serra da Estrela has to offer.
Photo by martins.nunomiguel
Serra da Estrela area is also known for its gastronomy; Rye bread, honey, Serra da Estrela honey pastries, smoked sausages stand out in a list of regional products topped by the delicious Serra da Estrela cheese or Queijo da Serra, the typical cheese with protected designation of origin produced in the region according to ancient methods.